Augustinian, built in 1258.
The order's relatively late foundation and need for large space for congregations,
they being a preaching order, means that their churches are usually found near,
or just outside, the city walls. The chapel in the right transept was added in 1487.
Internal renovation by Luigi Vanvitelli in the 18th century and an
entrance doorway designed by Agostino Fantastici in 1819. The church is now used for
A large baroque and aisleless space, remodelled in 1749 by
Gaspare Vanvitelli, with two pairs of altars either side, flanking the
side door on one side and the door leading to the Capella Piccolomini on
the other. The high altar has the shrine of the Blessed Agostino Novello,
a local almost-saint who organised and worked to benefit the poor and
infirm from the hermitage of San Leonardo.
There are some very ordinary 17th-century
altarpieces, but also a Crucifixion (completed in 1506) by Perugino over the second
altar on right, the Chigi, which shows the crucified Christ with the Marys and Saints
Monica, Jerome, John the Baptist and Augustine, all looking pretty languid
and relaxed. By the side door is
the altar of San Silvestro, which has a Baptism of Constantine
(1586/7) by Francesco Vanni which is impressive, if somewhat
The Capella Piccolomini in the quite
large former chapter house of the convent, which was converted into a
chapel in 1597 by Archbishop Ascanio Piccolomini, which is when the
frescos by Ambrogio Lorenzetti mentioned below would have been whitewashed
over. There is a crowded Adoration of the Magi
from 1530 by Sodoma over the altar. The youth in profile to the left of
Madonna is said to be a self-portrait.
The highlight lunette fresco opposite is a MaestÓ by Ambrogio
Lorenzetti (see above) which was discovered during work in 1943
when the Sodoma altarpiece was being moved for safety from bombing.
Following the discovery the altar was repositioned into the opposite wall.
The lunette fresco is all that remains
of a seemingly-special cycle by Ambrogio, much admired by Ghiberti, devoted to the life of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.
Long after the whitewashing mentioned above renovation in the 18th century
largely destroyed the the frescoed walls. There have been many theories expounded to
explain its odd selection of sometimes hard-to-identify saints. A recent,
and quite convincing one, relates the painting to disputes amongst
Augustinians at the time of its painting. A meeting of the Order's Chapter
was convened in this very chapel in 1338. It does contain arguably the
most shocked-looking Baby in trecento art, as various female saints
present him with the bodily parts removed during their martyrdoms. Recent
restoration has identified a layer underneath thought to be an earlier
fresco by earler (pre-Duccio period) Sienese hands.
The second (Bichi) chapel to right of high altar has
two lunette medallions of the Tiburtine and Erythraean sibyls by Luca Signorelli and monochrome frescoes of the
Birth of the Virgin and the Nativity by
Francesco di Giorgio and collaborators, all painted c.1489/94, found under whitewash during
restoration work in the 1970s.
The sacristy chapel has fragments of frescoes of the Infancy of
Christ and saints by Paolo di Giovanni Fei from c.1373/75, his earliest
Jacopo della Quercia is said to have been buried here.
Two paintings once in the Capella Piccolomini here: one of the many odd
versions of the Massacre of the
Innocents (1482) by Matteo di Giovanni is now in the Capella della
Madonna in the Santa Maria della Scala Ospedale (with fragments of its
lunette are in Esztergom and a private collection).
The fine Blessed Agostino Novello
and Four of his Miracles (c.1330) by Simone Martini (see right) is now in the
Pinacoteca and is one of only three works by him remaining in Siena. It
was painted to be placed on the subject's tomb here, hence the unusual
polygonal top. The four flanking scenes showing Agostino's healing
miracles, with him swooping in to save the victims of accidents, mostly
children, are probably the work of assistants.
The Bichi altarpiece, painted to go in the family chapel
mentioned above by Luca Signorelli was disassembled and dispersed
in the mid 18th century. It was commissioned in memory of Cristoforo
Bellandi, the deceased son-in-law of Antonio Bichi. The central wooden
statue of Saint Christopher by Francesco di Giorgio is in the
Louvre. The large flanking panels depicting Saints Jerome, Catherine
of Siena and Mary Magdalen on one side, and Saints Francis,
Augustine and Catherine of Alexandria on the other, are now in Toledo and Berlin, with
predella panels in Dublin and Scotland.
mid-March to end Oct 10.30-1.30 & 3.00-5.30
These are the last times publicised, but I never found the church open on
a visit in 2016 and only finally got in during the big Ambrogio Lorenzetti
exhibition of 2017/18 when the church was specially opened. The attendant said that when the exhibition finishes the access will return to being
Romanesque, founded in 1175, with major 18th century adjustments
Small and aisleless with a nice mix of rough walls and smooth pilasters
and arches. a plain rough apse and a shallow altar niche each side,
with frescoes. On the right a Saint Anne with the Madonna and Child,
possibly by Martino di Bartolomeo, discovered during restoration in 1959. On the left a more damaged remainder of
a representation of architecture with Jesus and Seraphs in the
lunette and San Bernardino on the right niche wall. Guidebooks mention a highlight triptych over the high altar of the
Coronation of the Virgin with Saints Peter and Andrew (1445) signed by
Giovanni di Paolo, but as you can see in my photo it's not there
now, or wasn't in September 2016.
(Cappella delle Carceri di...)
One of Siena's patron saints. He's a
3rd century saint, so the legend that he was imprisoned in the tower to the
right of this 16th century church, admittedly built on the site of an
older church, is hard to accept. The saint is depicted in the stained
glass window in the oculus above the door, the high altarpiece of 1617 by Rustichino and in the fresco fragments on the left wall attributed to
Priamo della Quercia, the brother of sculptor Jacopo.
The famed Annunciation with Saints
Massimo of 1333 by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi, his
brother-in-law, painted for the altar of Saint Ansanus in the Duomo, was
moved here towards the end of the 16th century when that altar was
remodelled. It remained here until went to the Uffizi in 1799.
Interior photo from the
My Day Worth blog
Sant'Elisabetta della Visitazione
The original church dates to 1680, but the current church was built in the
late 19th century by the Blessed Savina Petrilli for the Order of the
Sisters of the Poor of St. Catherine of Siena, which she founded in 1873.
Building began in 1884 to neo-renaissance designs by Agenor Socini and was
completed in 1901.
Nave and aisles separated by wide pillared arches supporting a high
gallery. Aisle walls utterly plain with altars at the aisle ends flanking
five-sided decorated apse. Modern panels.
The decoration was overseen by
Alessandro Franchi, responsible for Saint Joseph on the back wall
of the left aisle, the Visitation in the apse and the Stigmata
of Saint Catherine of Siena on the back wall of the right aisle,
the latter carried out in collaboration with his wife Luisa Mussini (the
daughter of painter Luigi Mussini, who was Franchi's tutor) she being also
responsible for the Saint Anthony of Padua in the chapel named for
On the altar a Madonna and Child by Luca di TommŔ.
Under the altar are the remains of Savina Petrilli
she being one of the 31 ôsaints, beatified, and servants of Godö
controversially mummified between 1975 and 2008. Controversial also for the
fact that of the team of the embalmers only one survivor was still alive
in 2014 when the issue
was reported, the others having died of various tumours and cancers,
likely side effects of the toxic chemicals used in their work.
Sant'Antonio da Padova
Sant'Antonio alle Murella
Oratory - via Tommaso Pendola
Sant'Antonio da Padova
Oratory - via Cecco Angiolieri
In the late 17th century locals from
the Contrada della Tartuca (Turtle),
many of them sculptors and masons, acquired property from the Augustinians.
Construction of an oratory began in 1682, to a Baroque design by Jacomo Franchini.
with the church completed in 1685.
Much work by the Mazzuoli
family, and some by the Nasini. Giovanni Antonio Mazzuoli was responsible
for the interior sculptural decoration and
the main altar with its bas-relief of the Apparition of the Virgin to Saint Anthony
The high altarpiece depicts the Miracle of St Anthony
restoring an amputated leg. The same miracle
is depicted in inlaid marble mosaic in the floor by Leopoldo Maccari
The cupola is
has frescoes depicting Saint Anthony in Glory by Vincenzo Dei. The
side altars, built in the late 1700s, are the work of local sculptor Gaspero
Fineschi and stucco artist Bernardino Cremoni.
Four oval paintings of 1685-6 - The St Jerome and the Angel
is attributed to Giuseppe Nicola Nasini, the Martyrdom of St
Bartholomew is by Antonio Nasini, Saint Sebastian healed by Saint Irene
St Ansano baptizes the First Christians of Siena are by Annibale
St Anthony preaches to Fishes (1697) by Annibale Mazzuoli; a stucco bas-relief of
The Virgin offers her baby Jesus to St Antonio, by Giovanni Antonio Mazzuoli (1685); a wooden altarpiece
with Scenes in the Life of St Anthony by Antonio Manetti and Angelo
Barbetti (1831-1832); a Madonna and Child, by Francesco Mazzuoli (1836).
Rebuilt in 1800.
The Contrada Priora della Civetta
(owl) was the last contrada to build its own oratory, they having
previously used an altar in the church of San Cristoforo, just up
the street. Built on the site of a shop shop, on the ground floor of a
medieval palace, which was bought by the Contrada in 1932. By 1934 the
fašade and entrance were finished, and in 1936 the marble altar. Financial
problems and the war prevented completion, until the Oratory was finally
opened for worship in 1945. Major rebuilding in 1973 when the interior
plasterwork was removed, painted in white and dark horizontal stripes in a
Sienese style, returning the walls to brick and stone.
An 18th century painting of
Sant'Antonio da Padova by Galgano Perpignani and a 17th century work
by Vincenzo Rustici of the Madonna and Child, San Giovannino and
San Carlo Borromeo with San Luigi Gonzaga, given to the Contrada by
Count Guido Chigi Saracini.
casa e santuario
The house where the saint was born, it became a sanctuary devoted to her
memory after being bought by the comune in 1466.
Entrance through a portico of 1941 into a sweet loggia of 1533,
possibly by Peruzzi or Giovanni Battista Pelori, a follower. The
Oratorio della Cucina is the family
kitchen converted into an oratory in the 16th century. Over the entrance
is Christ Giving Saint Catherine of Siena a Divine Heart by
Francesco Vanni from 1585. The oratory has an
altarpiece by Bernardino Fungai. The wooden stalls date from 1518 and
1555, the majolica pavement is from the same century. Fresco of the
Mystic Marriage of St Catherine 1578/9 by Bartolomeo Neroni,
completed by Arcangelo Salimbeni. The frantic Conversion of those
Condemned to Death 1578/80 is by Lattanzio Bonastri, who had studied
in Rome with El Greco. Saint Catherine of Siena Curing a Possessed
Woman 1587, an early work by Pietro Sorri
Opposite the oratory is the Church of the
Crocifisso, built in 1623 to house the (late 12th century Pisan)
Crucifix in front of which Saint Catherine received the stigmata in
Pisa in 1375. It is kept over the high altar in a cupboard decorated by Il
Riccio. In the south transept is an altarpiece by Sebastiano Conca and in
the north transept one by Domenico and Rutilio Manetti. Downstairs
is the Camera della Santa, the saint's
cell, frescoed in 1896 and containing a small painting of Saint
Catherine Receiving the Stigmata by Girolamo di Bemvenuto. Below this
is the Oratorio della Tintoria or Santa Caterina
in Fontebranda, built in 1465 on the site of a dyer's workshop
(tintoria). There's a polychrome wooden statue of the saint by
Neroccio di Bartolomeo dei Landi (1475), frescoes of five angels by Sodoma
and scenes from the saint's life by Girolamo del Pacchia, Vincenzo Tamagni,
Giacomo Pacchiarotti and Ventura
Contrada dell'Oca (goose)
Santi Niccol˛ e Lucia
Renovated in 16th and 17th centuries
Small, pale baroque and aisleless with a pair of side chapels. On the left
carved Crucifix with painted staffage. On the right 18th century stucco angels and putti surround an
old icon-like painting of a crowned Madonna.
The barrel vaulted
ceiling and lunettes over side chapels are frescoed, with a trompe
l'oeil dome in the
These 17th century vault frescoes are the work of Sebastiano Foli
and Francesco Bertini.
There's a Baroque organ gallery over the entrance.
Shallow baroquely gilded
rectangular apse with grills either side and a high altarpiece of the
Martyrdom of St Lucy by Francesco Vanni of 1606.
presbytery are 15th century polychrome statues - Saint Lucy
attributed to Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Saint Nicholas by a
follower of Giovanni di Stefano.
The high altarpiece depicts
a female Saint
(Lucy?) about to be...? and receiving communion?
Santa Maria dei Servi
The huge brick church of the Servites,
begun in the 13th century but enlarged over the next two centuries and so
not finished and consecrated until 1533. The 15th century fašade remains
unfinished. Suffered harsh restoration in 1925.
The interior, remodelled during the Renaissance, is plain and fine,
though marred by 19th century restoration. There
are five deep bays with altars in each aisle.
The first on the right is a
small enclosed chapel with Anonymous 14th century fresco fragments on the outside wall
of The Last Judgement and Mary freeing souls from purgatory.
first main altar on the right is the very
Byzantine highlight Madonna and Child with
Angels (the Madonna di Bordone) (see right) of 1261 by Coppo di Marcovaldo, a Florentine
artist captured at the battle of Montaperti in 1260 and probably made to paint this
picture to earn his freedom. It's his first known major work and the only
one safely attributable, having been signed and dated. The heads had their
detailing softened and made more Ducciesque by a local artist, a pupil of Duccio, a couple of decades later,
a fact revealed by x-radiography. It is flanked by Santa Caterina and
San Rocco panels by Arcangelo Salimbeni from the later 16th century.
The last altar on the right has an impressive and gilding-detailed
Massacre of the Innocents of 1491 by Matteo di Giovanni, who somewhat
specialised in this with two more versions by him in Siena, one being a
marble pavement panel in the Duomo, and another in Naples. It features his perverse taste for stabby and
The end of this
transept arm has a painted
14th century Crucifix, by Niccol˛ di
Segna. Underneath is an altar with the remains of the Blessed Francesco
Patrizi, a well-loved Sienese Servite known locally as Francesco Tarlato
(worm-eaten Francesco) due to the state of his remains. Over the door to the left is a small Madonna and
Child by Segna di Bonaventura,
a nephew of Duccio and the father of the Niccol˛ mentioned above.
The Massacre of the Innocents fresco on the
right wall of the far right chapel in the deep transept is by Pietro Lorenzetti, and
Niccol˛ and Francesco di Segna.
The chapel nearest the apse has an early 20th century gold-ground triptych by Alexander Franchi.
The high altarpiece is a wide panel depicting
The Coronation of the Virgin by Bernardino Fungai from 1501.
The first chapel left of
apse has some anonymous fresco fragments, but the last one has an impressive collection of big
damaged 14th-century frescoes by Pietro Lorenzetti, and others. They
depict the Banquet of Herod and Death of John the Baptist. Also a
Nativity, a bit
of a polyptych by Taddeo di Bartolo (a follower of Lorenzetti).
The left transept end
chapel has a Madonna del Misericordia altarpiece in watercolour, signed
and dated 1431 by Giovanni di Paolo,
a pupil of Taddeo di Bartolo. The leader of the
monks sheltered by the Virgin's cloak on one side is Filippo Benizzi, a
Servite general whose life is illustrated by Andrea del Sarto in the
Chiostrino dei Voti in Santissima Annunziata in Florence.
Coming back up the left aisle,
second altar from the back has a small panel of the Madonna del Belvedere a rare work by Jacopo di Mino del Pelliciaio, a pupil of Lippo Memmi, flanked by
Saint Joseph and Mary Magdalen by Bernadino Fungai, also
responsible for the high altarpiece here. The first chapel has a bright
Annunciation by Francesco Vanni of 1586.
(frescoes in the Spinelli chapel by Niccol˛ di Segna?
the Shepherds 1585 by Alessandro Casolani)
A very sweet panel of the Madonna and Child Enthroned with Four Angels
of 1470 is all that remains of an altarpiece commissioned by the Della Ciaia
family for their altar here) by Matteo
di Giovanni (see right) is in the Pinacoteca.
A Virgin and Child, known as the
Madonna del Popolo, signed by Lippo Memmi, (late 1320s) although its
high quality points to involvement by Simone Martini, his brother-in-law.
It is now in the
14th century, restored in 1926.
Santa Maria della Scala
The earliest documents mentioning a
pilgrim's hospice here, attached to the duomo, date to the 11th
century, with the current building dating from the 12th. It's management
became more secular over time and broadened its remit to include the poor,
the infirm, the sick and foundlings, called getatelli or little
throwaways. With the suppressions of the 18th century Santa Maria dell
Scalla became a hospital in the modern sense of the word - a place of
medical care, which it remained until 1975.
The ticket office and bookshop to the left of the fašade are in what was
the Chapel of the Women's Wing, which
is still a vaulted space with frescoed scenes of the Passion of Christ
from the 15th century. There are also traces of a Madonna of Mercy
and a Holy Trinity with a kneeling nun, possibly the donor.
You will be given a map, but note that the floor where you begin is
the fourth. I suggest you start with the
Capella del Manto,
named for the fresco of
The Madonna della Misericordia which has been in the Capella del Sacro
Chiodo (see below) since the early 17th century. This chapel was built in
the 14th century and originally called the Chapel of the Relics, for the
collection of relics, including a nail from the Crucifixion, bought at
vast expense in Constantinople. The fresco decoration here on the
arches and vaults is 14th century, with a (very Rosso Fiorentino-influenced) lunette fresco of The Meeting
of Anna and Joachim at the Golden Gate (1518) by Domenico Beccafumi.
During Santa Maria della Scala's time as a hospital this chapel was used
as the A&E department.
Into the passagio, the rooms on the right have changing displays. To the
left you enter the
Sala del Pellegrinaio
with walls covered with frescoes
by Domenico di Bartolo, Priamo della Quercia (brother of Jacopo) and Vecchietta of episodes
of the founding and work of the hospital, painted from 1441
to 1443. This room has ever been the centre of the complex, first as a
reception room and later as a hospital ward, which it remained until the
(see right) is further along to the left. It's also known as the
Capella del Sacro
Chiodo, because it once housed a nail (chiodo) used for
Christ's crucifixion. This may have suggested the subject of Vecchietta's
now very fragmentary, but impressive, frescoes here of 1446-9, which
depict the Articles of the Apostle's Creed, painted after his work
in the Sala del Pellegrinaio mentioned above. This is not the easiest of subjects to
interpret without captions, and one unusually centred on Christ himself,
rather than his mother, or the city itself, which are the more usual
subjects for such cycles in Siena. The 1444 high altarpiece by Domenico di Bartolo here
being more typical, as it depicts the Madonna della Misericordia,
with Sienese citizens protected under her cloak. This is the fresco
the Cappella del Manto mentioned above. It was detached and moved here in
1610, minus its two ends which were removed so it would fit the altar
here. These fragments were reattached in 1969 and the sinopia (underdrawing)
of the main panel is displayed nearby.
You then pass through the baroque
Capella della Madonna,
built at the end of the 17th century with funds provided by one of the
hospital's nuns, Elisabetta Biagini, with stucco work and canvases by
Francesco Nasini. It also contains an odd and
disturbing Massacre of the Innocents of 1482 (see right) by Matteo di Giovanni (his speciality
- see Santa Maria dei Servi) which has smiling children looking on the
windows. It was originally in Sant'Agostino.
And then it's on into into the suddenly enormous space of
(see right). Its fašade faces the Duomo's, so the church of the
Annunciation faces the church of the Assumption. It was rebuilt in the
late 15th century and is boxy and a bit characterless but with an impressive
huge apse-filling fresco depicting the Healing of the Cripple at the
Pool of Bethesda, an appropriate subject, painted by Sebastiano
Conca in 1730. It replaced/destroyed the fresco of the Coronation of
the Virgin by Francesco di Giorgio Martini. There's also a Vecchietta statue of The Risen Christ
topping the high
altar. The statue was part of his tomb in a chapel dedicated to the
Saviour that he designed for his own burial,
which was demolished during 17th century building work. He also painted a
large altarpiece for the chapel, of The Virgin and Child with Saints
Peter, Paul, Lawrence and Francis, now in the Pinacoteca. Frescoes by him had covered the walls before the rebuilding, but
his work in the Capella del Sacro Chiodo is now all that remains. A
Virgin and Child by Paolo di Giovanni Fei? The coffered ceiling
is the work of Francesco di Giorgio and painter Lotto di Domenico. The
altars are 17th-century.
Downstairs on level 3 a stripy and windowless pair of rooms lead to the
baroque and windowless
Oratorio di Santa Caterina della Notte
(see below right) stucco-decorated in the 18th century, with two
more rooms beyond, the last of which, the sacristy, has a sudden triptych
of The Madonna and Child with four angels and Saints John the Baptist
and Andrew of c.1400 by Taddeo di Bartolo. A
panel of the Lamentation in the I Tatti collection, is very likely
from this work's predella. The triptych was painted for the Compagnia di San Michele Arcangelo,
a charitable group of flagellants who changed their name to Saint
Catherine of the Night to celebrate the fact that Saint Catherine of Siena
would rest here between caring for the sick. There's also an 18th century
statue of her sleeping here.
this floor is a vast space devoted to Jacopo delle Quercia's
Fonte Gaia, with eroded original bits and plaster reconstructions.
There's also The Treasury, a sequence of confusing
storerooms and crannies full of
reliquaries (for the relics mentioned in the entry for the Capella del
Manto above) that is weirdly lit and like a rough brick fairground
attraction, made all the more unnerving by bits of modern art, and by my
being mostly alone.
The next floor down (the Second Subterranean Level) has an oratory, revealed
mid-14th century frescos
depicting the life of hermit monks, a covered road, and an archaeological museum
full of Etruscan stuff, but I was too tired and confused to do them
justice. Only later did I discover that there is a Charnel House and the
Wash House of the Wet Nurses to visit down here too.
The Virgin and Child with Saints Agnese, John the Evangelist, John the
Baptist and Mary Magdelene, a polyptych by Duccio, is in the
A very influential cycle of frescoes of the Life of the Virgin
was painted on the fašade of Santa Maria della Scala in 1335. Both
Ghiberti and Vasari describe the frescoes, with Ghiberti the most reliable
for having seen them himself. He says that Pietro
Lorenzetti painted the Nativity of the Virgin, and that his brother Ambrogio
contributed The Birth of the Virgin and The Presentation at the
Temple. Simone Martini painted The Marriage of the Virgin and,
as Ghiberti puts it, a scene where 'she was visited by many women and
virgins'. All are now lost - destroyed in the 18th century after a
protecting canopy was removed in 1720. See right for an artist's reconstruction. A triptych by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, consisting of The
'Little' Maesta in the Pinacoteca and fragments showing Saint
Nicholas of Bari Giving Alms, in the Louvre, and Saint Martin and
the Poor Man, in the Yale Art Gallery.
A gradual (cod.98.4) made for the Ospedale in 1344/45, with five mostly
Maryan miniatures by Lippo Vanni, is now in the Duomo Museo. See right
for one showing the Birth of the Virgin.
Three leaves from choir books commissioned for SM
della Scala between 1456 and 1477, illustrated by Pellegrino di Mariano
Rossini (MS 197) and Sano di Pietro (MS 196 & MS 198), are now in the
Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Four (vandalised) volumes remain in
Siena (MS 197 comes from one of them) and fragments from the rest are
dispersed around the world.
Giovanni di Paolo painted much for the hospital from the 1440s,
including altarpieces, banners and designs for the embroidery of
vestments. All that remains of these projects is the vivid altarpiece of
The Presentation at the Temple, now in the
Pinacoteca, painted for the guild of Pizzicaiuoli (grocers) and installed in
The reliquary cabinet doors painted by Vecchietta (with help from
Pietro di Giovanni d'Ambrogio) in 1445/49 for the large sacristy here, with twelve Sienese
saints and blesseds on the outer surfaces and scenes from
The Passion of Christ
inside, is now in the Pinacoteca, as is a panel he painted for his tomb,
depicting the Virgin and Child with Saints Peter, Paul, Lawrence
and Francis. His bronze ciborium, made for the
high altar of the church of Santissima Annunziata here is now over the
high alter of the Duomo.
An Assumption panel by Ugolino Lorenzetti (an invented name for an
unknown artist midway between the styles of Ugolino da Nerio and the
Lorenzetti) is in the Pinacoteca. As is a Crucifix by Taddeo di
Bartolo and a Presentation by Giovanni di Paolo. Also some fresco
fragments (including a sinopia) by Domenico di Bartolo and panels
from the doors of a reliquary cabinet by Lorenzo di Pietro (Il Vecchietta).
A Trinity by Beccafumi, painted for the Chapel of the Mantle
c.1513, is now in the Pinacoteca.
The Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala - a visitor's guide
by Ilaria Bichi Ruspoli (trans. Anna Piperato) (2016) is excellent -
well-designed, clearly-written and translated, and interesting.
A reconstruction of the fašade by Roberto Parenti,
from Barzanti's Storia di Siena.
Santa Maria delle Nevi
Built from from 1470-1472 for Giovanni Cinughi,
the first Bishop of Pienza,
whose coat of arms can be seen on the fašade, possibly to a design by
Francesco di Giorgio, possibly carried out by his pupil Bastiano di Corso. a Sienese-born architect, painter, sculptor
and civil and military engineer. The church has been 'temporarily' closed for restoration for many years
Ironically the pavement of 1685 in the centre of the nave bears the arms
of the Medici, Siena's and Tuscany's eventual rulers. Halfway down right
wall is the Messa di San Cerbone of 1630 by Rutilo Manetti.
The high altarpiece, echoed in the curves of
the church's vaulting, was the Madonna della Neve of
1477 by Matteo di Giovanni (now in the Pinacoteca) (see left)
commissioned by the Cinughi's heirs. It features cherubs making snowballs
and angels with bowls and amphorae of snow. It was
originally in the (now demolished) monastery of Sant'Egidio. The legend
of the origins of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome is depicted in the predella
- a miraculous fall of snow marked the outline of the church.
A photo taken around 1880
Santa Maria in Portico a
Built 1482/84 to Renaissance-style designs by Francesco di Cristoforo
Fedeli from Como to celebrate the victory of Siena over the Florentines
in the Battle of Poggio Imperiale fought in Poggibonsi on September 7,
The former Porta de Pescaja, also known as Porta Fontegiusta, was a city
gate, sited where the apse is now. It was walled up as Siena tried to
limit access to the city during times of conflict.
The facade remains brick. The doorway (1489) is the work of Urbano di Cortona,
with a bas-relief of the Madonna and Child with Angels above attributed to Giovanni di Stefano.
Almost square, as space was limited, what with the church being built
up against the city wall. A nave and two aisles, divided into vaulted
On the left wall is a fresco of The Sibyl Announcing the Birth of Christ to the Emperor Augustus once attributed
to architect Baldassare Peruzzi (who lived nearby), but now thought to be
a work of Daniele da Volterra, or both of them.
The marble high altar (1509-17) is attributed to
Lorenzo di Mariano, called il Marrina. In the tabernacle is the
miracle-working Madonna di Fontegiusta by Lippo Vanni, originally
part of a fresco from the portico of the customs house. The large lunette
fresco above of The Assumption (1515) is by Girolamo di Benvenuto, with side frescoes depicting the Birth of the
Virgin, Annunciation and The Madonna in Glory (1600) by Ventura
To the right of the altar is a painting of The Blessed Ambrogio
Sansedoni asking protection of the city of Siena from the Virgin
(1590), by Francesco Vanni. On the right is a Coronation of the Virgin
with Four Saints altarpiece by Bernardino Fungai (1508-1512).
The sacristy has a small museum dedicated to memorabilia (including a
whalebone) said to have belonged to Christopher Columbus while he was,
possibly, a student at the University of Siena.
every morning from Monday to Saturday.
Interior photo above from the
My Day Worth blog
Santa Maria di Provenzano
Santa Maria Maddalena
Built from 1595 and consecrated in 1611, with rare-for-Siena ornate
baroque fašade of 1604,
to designs by Flaminio del Turco, which were said to have been based on
counter-reformation principles. The dome was designed by Don Giovanni de'
Medici, the illegitimate son of Cosimo I.
17th century altarpieces by Bernardino Mei (west wall) and Rutilio Manetti
(first south altar).
Flaminio del Turco is also credited with the
design of the high altar on
which the famed 15th century miraculous terracotta Madonna del Provenzano sits. Its power is said
to derive from it having been on the facade of the home of Provenzano Salviani, or
at least a house nearby. He being the
leader of the Sienese army at its famous victory of Florence at the Battle of Montaperti in 1260.
The miracle took place on the 2nd of July 1594 when the bust is said to
have cured a man with diseased limbs and/or 'defended itself from the
insults of a soldier'. Other reports say that the bust was destroyed and
the (occupying Spanish) soldier responsible then repented, or died. The faithful remain unperturbed by it having been
dated to two hundred years after the battle. The second Palio, held on
July 1st, has been run in the statue's honour since 1656.
The complex passed to the nuns of Maddalena in 1539 who rebuilt,
entrusting the work on the church to Antonio Maria Lari, called Tozzo.
Much rebuilding over the centuries with the interior completely redone
between 1715 and 1729 with late baroque stucco work. The
fašade was built in 1839 to a
design by the wonderfully-named Sienese architect Agostino Fantastici
(Augustine Fantastic) who also worked on Sant'Agostino, Santa Marta and
San Giuseppe, all nearby.
The high altarpiece is Saint Mary Magdalene listening to the preaching
of Christ of Raffaello Vanni. On side altars there are two paintings
by Antonio Bonfigli from 1729 depicting the Martyrdom of St Catherine
of Alexandria and the Madonna with Child and Saints.
A damaged small triptych of the Madonna and
Child by the Master of the Osservanza (Sano di Pietro?)
is in the Pinacoteca. Also a Madonna of the Goldfinch by Sano di
via San Marco
The convent was founded in 1329 by Milla Pannocchieschi d'Elci a noblewoman who, when widowed, decided to build a
convent dedicated to Santa Marta following the rule of St. Augustine.
Initially for widows only, then virgins. Milla died in 1348 but her family
retained control of the convent. Suppressed in 1810 by Napoleon the
convent became a prison and then, briefly, housed the mentally ill before
they were transferred to the Asylum of Saint Nicholas. In 1814 the complex
became an orphanage and remained so until 1975 when it became a college.
It passed to the City of Siena in 1983 and in 1986 restoration work
began. Now houses the Istituto Storico della Resistenza Senese e
dellĺEtÓ Contemporanea archive and accommodation for rent.
The church choir has 14th century frescoes including the Burial of Saint
Martha by Matteo
Giovannetti. There are also 14th/15th century monochrome fresco fragments in the cloister
(see below) depicting the Life of Saint Jerome and the reclusive life generally. The
refectory has a large fresco of 1522 of the Last Supper (found in
2004 under whitewash) by Giacomo Paccharotti, a colleague of
Two panels from a polyptych by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, depicting
Paul and John the Baptist, are in the Pinacoteca. As is a sweetly
impressive panel of Scenes from the New Testament (see right) by Niccol˛ di Bonaccorso.
A cutting from an Antiphoner illustrated by the Master of the Osservanza
around 1430/40 is in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (It. 12) was
probably for this convent. The cutting, showing Saint Augustine
sailing to Africa after his mother's burial, featured in the museum's
exhibition 'Colour - the art and science of illuminated manuscripts' and
the pigment analysis done at that time shows considerable differences from
the works by Sano di Pietro that are in the museum, thereby casting doubt
on his recent identification as the Master of of the Osservanza.
Santi Pietro e Paolo
via San Marco
Oratory within the
Institute of Santa Teresa complex commissioned by Monsignor Leopoldo
Bufalini as a school for girls. Built in Neo-Renaissance style 1877-1885 to designs by Giuseppe Partini.
The oratory has a wooden ceiling carved by Giorgio Badini. The high
altarpiece is the Transverberation of St Teresa of ┴vila of 1875 by
Alessandro Franchi. The altar was sculpted by Leopoldo Maccaro. The
ceiling has St Simon Stock Receives the Carmelite Habit from the Virgin
also by Franchi (1884).
Other canvases include the Prophets Elias and Eliseo, St Girolamo Emiliani, and
a Santa Cecilia by Riccardo Meacci. Franchi also painted a Madonna del
Carmine with Saints Agnes and Louis; Gaetano Marinelli (1835-1924)
painted Saints Joseph, Bernardino, and Catherine; Giuseppe Catani painted a
Santa Caterina delle Ruote; and Leone Leoncini painted St Vincent of
Paul and St Thomas Aquinas and St Giuseppe Calasanzio.
Originally a monastery which moved here in 1361, after the plague. This
original church, dedicated to San Paolo became too small and work on a new
church begun in 1622 to designs of Flaminio del Turco. The brick fašade,
the work of Niccol˛ Franchini, was completed in 1678, The cupola,
supported with an octagonal tambor, was completed in 1645, with the
lantern reconstructed in Neoclassical style in 1818 by Agostino Fantastici
after an earthquake in 1798 destroyed the previous one. When the monastery
was suppressed by Napoleon the Contrada della Chiocciola moved here from
the Chapel of the Madonna del Rosario nearby, along with the art and
fittings from that oratory. The
church was then dedicated to Santi Pietro e Paolo.
The interior has
stucco decoration (1711) by Giovanni Antonio Mazzuoli. The high altarpiece
is the Coronation of the Virgin with Saints (1520) by Andrea and
Raffaello del Brescianino. Another altarpiece depicts the Death of St
Paul by Astolfo Petrazzi. On the altar of the Rosary is a 15th-century
Madonna and Child. The crypt features a display of Palio victories.
Santi Quirico (e Giulitta)
Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio
One of Siena's oldest, built on the
site of a pagan temple. 17th century but with 13th century remainders,
including the fine Romanesque portal. Contains paintings by Ventura
Salimbeni and Francesco Vanni.
Said to date from 1144. Renovated in
the 18th century. Was the parish church until suppression in 1782 by Grand
Duke Leopold of Tuscany and in 1788 it transferred to the Istrice (Porcupine)
painter Pintoricchio was buried here in 1513 - there's a small niche with
a bronze bust on the right wall.
Plain fašade, baroque interior with a single
nave and five bays. On left wall is a Madonna and Child with Saints
Bernardino and Jerome by Sano di Pietro.
Over the high altar is an
18th century wooden tabernacle with angels, behind which there are 18th
century monochrome frescoes by Carlo Amidei.
Contains much 18th-century
art, but also an anonymous fresco of Christ Pantocrator detached
from the fašade which is early-3th-century and possibly the oldest
painting in Siena. And maybe no longer to be found here.
Neo-gothic, rebuilt in 1871 as the original one had been damaged by an
earthquake in 1869.
Founded in the
14th century by Benedictine Sylvan monks and then to fellow Benedictine
Vallombrosan monks. In the mid-15th century it passed to Observant
Dominicans who undertook major rebuilding from 1498 to 1530, financed by Pandolfo Petrucci,
resulting in the church we see today. The convent was suppressed in
1848 and became a prison. The church later became a parish church.
The brick fašade has a Renaissance doorway attributed to Baldassarre
Peruzzi and dated 1519.
Interior clarification needed!
An aisleless nave with four chapels on each side. The transept
is slightly protruding while there is a deep choir with an apse. The dome
is equipped with a drum and is attributed to Giacomo Cozzarelli (1508).
First chapel on right (the Spagnoli) entirely
frescoed by Sodama in 1520 (1530?), including a Saint Jacob
of Compostela Defeating the Moors, a very Spanish subject in a chapel commissioned by
Also in this chapel is a 1504 polychrome terracotta
by Ambrogio della Robbia, the Dominican of the
more famous Andrea.
The third chapel on the right formerly housed the Coronation of the
Virgin by Domenico Beccafumi mentioned in
Lost art below.
Further down on right, the transept chapel before the
high altar has San Giacinto in Glory in the vault by Francesco
Vanni, with the saint's life depicted by Ventura Salimbeni on the walls
(The Miracle of St Hyacinth by Ventura Salimbeni c.1600).
(or In the right transept is an altarpiece
with the Miracle of St. Hyacinth by Francesco Vanni (before 1596),
surrounded by frescoes by his half-brother Ventura Salimbeni with Saint
Hyacinth returning the sight of a boy on the left) and Saint Hyacinth
walking on the water to the right).
The Borghesi altarpiece by Giacomo Pacchiarotti of 1505, although the
predella is in the Pinacoteca.
A Coronation of the Virgin by
Girolamo del Pacchia from 1513/14 for the chapel of the Balisteri family.
(On the pillars either side of the high altar are Saints Domenic,
Catherine of Alexandria, Bernardino and Catherine of Siena by Rutilio
Manetti and in the apse The Pentecost by Giuseppe Nicola Nasini.
In the sacristy, part of the old cloister, is a 1516 fresco by Fra
Paolino da Pistoia.)
The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of
Siena by Domenico Beccafumi (see right) that was painted for
the Dell'Orafo chapel c.1528, and noticed there by Vasari in 1538/39, is
now in the Chigi-Saracini. There are predella panels - two each in the
Philly Museum in Tulsa, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and in the Getty
Museum. Another Beccafumi The Coronation of the Virgin of 1539 came here
from the convent of Ognissanti when that church was destroyed. It recently
moved to the Pinacoteca.
Santo Stefano alla Lizza
Founded in the 12th century and rebuilt baroquely in 1675. Formerly
falling into dereliction, the church is now used for opera performances.
Housed the Madonna and Child with Saints (including Saint
Stephen looking even more like Mickey Mouse than usual) (1400) by Andrea
Vanni (with a predella by Giovanni di Paolo of six scenes from the Life of
St Stephen with a central Crucifixion with Saints Jerome and Bernard)
which is now in the Duomo Baptistery. As is a Visitation by Rutilio
Manetti formerly on the the right hand altar here.
Founded by Augustinian nuns in 1362 and rebuilt in the 16th century,
this is the only substantial remaining part of the the adjacent convent of
Santa Maria degli Angeli.
The fašade is by Annibale Bichi, the benefactor. The interior houses an
altarpiece of the Madonna and Child with Saints begun by Francesco
Vanni in 1610, the year of his death, continued by Ventura Salimbeni, his
half-brother, who died in 1613, and completed by Sebastiano Folli in 1614.
The frescos on the side walls are by Ventura Salimbeni, and depict
episodes in The Life of Saint Galgano, a local saint whose head the
nuns once proudly owned. His cloak is said to be here too.
An altarpiece of the
Stigmatization of Saint Catherine 1515 by Beccafumi, now in the
via Santa Chiara
A church first documented in April 1064, with the church name vulgarised
as Sant'Amorici. A parish church through the Middle Ages, it was
deconsecrated in 1785, sold to a cooper and used as a warehouse. Only the
fašade, with the pillared doorway and a rose window, remains as the side
of a house.
The Mannelli chapel had an altarpiece painted by Paolo di Giovanni Fei in
1391, pieces of which, depicting Saint James Major, Saint John the
Baptist, and Saint Mauritius, are now in the Pinacoteca. Also
by him and in the Pinacoteca, a Birth of the Virgin of around the
same date, and clearly influenced by Pietro Lorenzetti's version of the
same scene now in the Duomo museum.
A high altarpiece from the mid-1340s by Niccol˛ di
Segna. The central panel, of the Virgin and Child, is in the I
Tatti collection. The four main lateral panels are in Baltimore (Saint
Lucy), Atlanta (Saints Maurice and Catherine) and the
Pinacoteca (Saint Bartholomew). Smaller panels from the clerestory
level are widely dispersed, the pinnacles and predella panels are lost or
A Master of the Osservanza/Sano di Pietro triptych of the Virgin
and Child with Saints Ambrose and Jerome
dated 1436 and commissioned by merchant Manno di Orlando for his chapel
here, is now in the Osservanza. (Also Pinacoteca 230)
Giovanni di Paolo was buried here
in the chapel of Saint John the Baptist in 1482.
The monastic complex founded here by the Vallombrosans at the end
of the 12th century, was already crumbling by1490. After the siege of 1555
Clarissan Franciscan nuns were forced to leave their then home outside the
Roman gate, occupied by the Spanish/Florentine troops, and on March 29,
1556 the abbot of San Giacomo and Filippo (as this complex was then
called) was instructed to leave the monastery so that
the nuns could move here. But the first stone of the rebuilding was not
laid until September
17th 1577 with the nuns finally moving in on 28 October 1596, with the
complex then taking the name of Santa Chiara. They remained until 22 July
1818 when the complex passed to Olivetan monks and was renamed the
Ospizio di San Benedetto in Santa Chiara .
The Olivetans left the ospizio on the 7th of July 1866, when the
monastery was suppressed. After a failed project to turn the complex into
prison, by 1872 it had been adapted to house a military barracks. Very
little remains, apart from the cloister, the church having been mined by
the retreating Germans on 2 July 1944 and almost completely destroyed;
but for two walls on which there's a plaque.
An early 13th century Sienese Crucifix (with a still very triumphant
Christ) is in the Pinacoteca.
An Enthroned Christ with the Virgin by
Rinaldo da Siena, a recently-identified contemporary of Guido da Siena. He
was formerly, and sometimes still is, known as the Master of the Clarisse.
The Breviarium fratrum minorum (Cod. X.IV.2) a manuscript in
the Siena Biblioteca Comunale of c.1430/40, has a calendar by Sano di
A postcard from the 1920s
The Santa Chiara complex on Francesco
Vanni's map of 1595.
Originally the church of the Umiliati on a different site from the
current church of the same name, beyond Porta Camollia.
A Saint John the Baptist Enthroned, with 12 scenes
from his life, by a 13th century Sienese master is in the Pinacoteca.
As is a triptych of the Madonna and Child with (half-length)
Saints Mary Magdalene and Martha, (c.1342-4) quite a late work by Ambrogio Lorenzetti
with arguable amounts of studio involvement. There's also a predella panel of The
Lamentation and two further side panels depicting Saints John the
Baptist and John the Evangelist. Scholarship has yet to settle on
these panels being part of the same polyptych and the church they were
painted for, and the catalogue of the big Ambrogio Lorenzetti
exhibition in Siena in 2017/18 adds a couple of smaller half-length saints,
Massimino (a bishop) and Saint Anthony Abbot (see below).
The exhibition caption said 'From the now destroyed convent of Santa
Maria Maddalena outside the Porta Tufi gate in Siena?'
Also a Polyptych of the Assumption
by Sano di Pietro.
fisiocriti 07 P1040940 - mystery